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Yearling Year

This blog is a quick look behind the scenes of what makes your second year at USMA one to remember.

Sophomore, Third Class, Yearling, Yuk. Your second year at West Point is special for many reasons: academics, military and physical training, but most of all because it’s the first time you’ll get to lead. As a Yuk, your rank is “Corporal” and you’ll be assigned 1-3 plebes to guide, mentor, train, and inspire. The Yearling year starts with three weeks of summer fun called Cadet Field Training (CFT), your formal introduction to Camp Buckner (often referred to as just “Buckner”).

Upon completion of CFT and other summer requirements you will officially be promoted to the rank of Cadet Corporal and head back to the Academy for another year of learning and camaraderie. These milestones will cultivate new levels of patience, adaptability, and focus for your career as an U.S. Army Officer.

ACADEMIC Milestones of Yearling Year:

After your time at Camp Buckner comes to an end, you will return to West Point for Reorganization Week. During this time you will reunite with your company, be assigned your new roommate, move into your new room, retrieve your gear, purchase necessary academic books and materials, and organize yourself for your upcoming Yearling year course load. The academic milestones you will move towards during your Yearling year include:

1. Beginning Your Major - Most cadets will begin to take courses for their selected major during their Yearling year. These classes are a great opportunity to specialize in a field outside of the core curriculum, learn something new, and to expand your network.

Learn more: Majors and Minors

2. Core Classes - During your Yuk year you will take additional core classes including courses in a Foreign Language, American Politics, Physics, Economics, Philosophy and Math. Now that you’re starting to get a feel for the schedule and demands of the academic year, you can set some achievement goals for yourself, like making the Dean’s List (TQPA of 3.00 or better in all academic, military science and physical courses) or becoming a Distinguished Cadet (QPA of 3.67 or better for the year or cumulatively).

3. Foreign Language - Yearling year is the first opportunity you’ll have to take courses in a foreign language. During this year you will complete your required 2-semesters of Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Persian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish within the Department of Foreign Language (DFL). DFL seeks to teach cadets not only foreign languages, but about cultures and regions of the world so that each cadet is able to thrive in complex international security environments and is prepared to serve around the globe through a career of service to the nation.

MILITARY Milestones of Yearling Year:

With your formal introduction to Camp Buckner, you will be even more fully immersed in the military pillar of West Point. This begins with Cadet Field Training at the beginning of the year, General Military Instruction during the academic year, and Military Development School at the end of the year. The military milestones of your Yearling Year include:

1. Cadet Field Training - CFT at Camp Buckner is completed the summer after your Plebe year. The training consists of a three-to-four week program of instruction that emphasizes general military skills, preparations for extended field operations, and leading, participating in, and conducting small unit tactical operations. The purpose of CFT is to prepare Third Class cadets to assume duties as Non-Commissioned Officers in the Corps of Cadets, to instill the warrior ethos, and to inspire each cadet to professional excellence through physically and mentally demanding training.

2. Becoming a Team Leader - Your Yearling year is the first chance you’ll have to serve in a leadership position. You will be assigned a Plebe (or two) from your company that you will be accountable for. As their Team Leader you are responsible for their military development, helping them adjust to military life, providing instruction on various military matters and tasks, and assisting with any other aspect of the USMA experience that might be troubling your Plebe. This small team leadership is an excellent opportunity for both Yuks and Plebes to begin to understand what it means to become an effective leader.

3. Airborne/Air Assault School - The summer after Yearling year is the first opportunity you will have to attend a Military Development School like Airborne or Air Assault School for 3-4 weeks. This is a way for cadets to meet their graduation requirement of completing an Individual Advanced Development program.

PHYSICAL Milestones of Yearling Year:

Yearling year is certainly not less physically demanding than your Plebe year, but you will be more accustomed to the physical requirements of West Point. As it’s said quite often, every cadet is an athlete, so as such, the physical milestones of your Yearling Year include:

1. Survival Swimming - In this 19-lesson course you will develop swimming proficiency across a range of increasingly complex scenarios. Emphasis is focused on elements of conditional acclimatization (movement in both flat water and surf), breath control, basic locomotion, buoyancy positions, stroke instruction and refinement, and the development of sound “real world” analysis and decision making when faced with operational water survival implications.

2. PE215 - This required course - the Fundamentals of Personal Fitness - will provide you with the knowledge and experience to develop your own personal fitness plan to link the Army’s doctrinal approach to physical readiness. During the class, you will participate in a variety of active learning experiences that are intended to develop, monitor, maintain, and assess your physical fitness in preparation for your future as an Army officer, and for a lifetime of physical activity.

3. ACFT - Each year at the Academy, you will be required to take and pass the Army Combat Fitness Test. The test is intended to connect fitness with combat readiness, and involves 6 different activities: a 3 repetition max deadlift, standing power throw, hand release push-up arm extension, spring-drag-carry, leg tuck, and 2-mile run. As a Yearling, not only will you be required to train for and take the test, but you will be responsible for ensuring your Plebe has the training and preparation they need for the test as well.


Visit to apply to the U.S. Military Academy, or to learn more about what it takes to join the Long Gray Line and become a leader of character as a West Point Cadet.

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